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I’m Sierra. I live in the Boston area with my family.

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Strawberry Jam!

by Sierra on June 17, 2009 · 10 comments

in food,green living,homeschooling

Strawberry Jam!

Strawberry Jam!

The kids and I made half our haul of strawberries into a tasty jam this afternoon. Rio and Serena were both great helpers, as was the morning preschool gang. They washed the berries, cut the tops off them with a safety knife, and put them into bowls for mashing. Rio even helped stir the sugar into the jam.

My two big discoveries for the day were that making strawberry jam is, wonderfully, one of those bits of domestic magic that is secretly much easier than it looks. We followed a simple recipe we grabbed from the internet, which was more formula than recipe: just match quantities of sugar and mushed up berries 1:1, add some lemon juice, heat it up, and put it in jars.

It sounds simple, and it is. Also forgiving. We made several mistakes along the way, and the jam still turned into jam. It did so in spite of our lack of canning equipment, our failure to own a candy thermometer, our messy hands and messier workspace. It turned into jam in spite of our using the food processor instead of the potato masher to mush the berries and our innovative “squish the big bits with your fingers” technique.

I confess, I was astonished. It wound being kind of runny, since we skipped the pectin, but it was delicious. Like eating the sun, if that wouldn’t be fatal.

Once we had conquered jam, we had a serious challenge to face: do we slather this stuff on the homemade sourdough boule Martin baked over the weekend, or the homemade banana-walnut-chocolate-chip bread he and the kids made?

Both, of course. And then we lick our fingers.

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  • rebecca

    If you’re getting into canning/jamming projects for the summer (I know I end up with mountains of cukes/beets/squash/beans from my CSA that just beg for pickling) I highly suggest the blog Food In Jars (www.foodinjars.com). Great for tips and inspiration.

    Also, my canning bibles are The Joy of Pickling and the Ball brand cookbook.

    [Reply]

  • Anonymous

    ^___^ I can’t wait to make jam with my son (2 1/2) once my strawberries are ripe. Care to share that recipie you found? I’m glad you had such a wonderful day. Your girls sound so wonderful.

    [Reply]

  • rebecca

    If you’re getting into canning/jamming projects for the summer (I know I end up with mountains of cukes/beets/squash/beans from my CSA that just beg for pickling) I highly suggest the blog Food In Jars (www.foodinjars.com). Great for tips and inspiration.

    Also, my canning bibles are The Joy of Pickling and the Ball brand cookbook.

    [Reply]

  • Jen

    ^___^ I can’t wait to make jam with my son (2 1/2) once my strawberries are ripe. Care to share that recipie you found? I’m glad you had such a wonderful day. Your girls sound so wonderful.

    [Reply]

  • http://www.beingshadoan.wordpress.com/ Rachel Shadoan

    I have always wanted to make jam! I am glad it turned out well for you! NPR recently featured a cookbook on food preservation, Preserved by Nick Sandler. I was hoping I would have things to can this year, but I don’t think my garden is going to be productive enough.

    [Reply]

  • http://syntacticsugah.blogspot.com Rachel

    I have always wanted to make jam! I am glad it turned out well for you! NPR recently featured a cookbook on food preservation, Preserved by Nick Sandler. I was hoping I would have things to can this year, but I don’t think my garden is going to be productive enough.

    [Reply]

  • http://childwild.wordpress.com/ Sierra

    The recipe was incredibly simple: 4 cups of mashed berries, 4 cups of sugar (we used organic, fair trade sugar, but it’s really just sugar), and a quarter cup of lemon juice. We heated it to a rolling boil and then poured it into jars and let it cool. Presto! Strawberry Jam.

    [Reply]

  • http://childwild.wordpress.com/ Sierra

    The recipe was incredibly simple: 4 cups of mashed berries, 4 cups of sugar (we used organic, fair trade sugar, but it’s really just sugar), and a quarter cup of lemon juice. We heated it to a rolling boil and then poured it into jars and let it cool. Presto! Strawberry Jam.

    [Reply]

  • http://childwild.wordpress.com/ Sierra

    We did not get enough berries from our yard to do anything but eat them in the garden as we picked them. We did our serious picking at the organic farm we have a CSA membership with. There are a couple of local crops (and for us strawberries is one) where it makes sense to me to go out and spend a day picking your own to preserve. We’ll do this with tomatoes and apples too.

    [Reply]

  • http://childwild.wordpress.com/ Sierra

    We did not get enough berries from our yard to do anything but eat them in the garden as we picked them. We did our serious picking at the organic farm we have a CSA membership with. There are a couple of local crops (and for us strawberries is one) where it makes sense to me to go out and spend a day picking your own to preserve. We’ll do this with tomatoes and apples too.

    [Reply]

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